A new year…
A new group of students…
How do we begin anew? How do we begin anew with all the “news” we encounter?
Yes, so much to do.
Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can. ~Lowell Thomas
At the end of the day before leaving work or finishing up at home, I ask myself, “What must be ready to be successful tomorrow?” I organize for that, keeping in mind the larger goals as well. I consider broad goals and small steps; my lessons and projects have essential questions, and I know a path for myself and the possible path for the students. Daily lessons are not needed in advance; they develop based on our progress and goals we set to respond to our questions and to our feedback to each other. Of course, for all the requirements for committees, I guide my work with the big goal, the big question to answer, and keep a running set of tasks, collaborations, reflections, documentation, to stay focused and responsive with colleagues. Google Apps keeps all this shared, ready, and organized.
I strive to do the best I can, yet I keep in mind that we are not perfect and mistakes will occur. I check things over, but know when to stop; I am professional, but not a perfectionist; I know I can do better tomorrow. We are all still learning; we’re human.
So, I go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness, encouraging those I work with, students and staff, to build community, to grow better together.
I know, for myself, my students, and my colleagues, that life happens.
These two ideas are key: life happens; mistakes happen. But there is no problem so great that we cannot fix, solve, or cope. These are lessons learned and ideas discussed frequently — until the students begin to share and encourage each other.
This flag hung in my classrooms for thurry-one years: a story for myself and my students. A first grade student brought his flag to me in tears because he had colored one fat red stripe at the top. “I ruined it,” he stuttered. I grabbed a white piece of paper and held it in my hands, asking him, “What could we do to fix that?” The sobs and a head shake, “ I don’t know.” I smiled, gently moving the white paper in front of me while looking at the red stripe. “I wonder how we could fix this?” I asked again. I waited. After a few tearful moments, the young boy said, “I could cut a white stripe and tape it there!” And that’s what he did. We support each other in solving problems, not to do for others, but to guide them to their own solutions.
Life is a journey — live to enjoy the struggle and make the world better. And then, all the “news” are welcome.
We have a lot of “news,” and our attitude and our relationships move us forward.
A new year… welcome!
A new group of students… I’m glad you’re here.
New curriculum… Let’s see what we can make of this together.
New colleagues… Welcome; let me know if I can help.
New mandates… Bring ‘em on! We’ll do more and better!
How do we begin anew? Focus forward. I can. You can. We can. And Thank you.
All images by Sheri Edwards on Flickr